Tricky W.'s Movie Ratings - Rotten Tomatoes

Movie Ratings and Reviews

Contagion
Contagion(2011)

I struggled with rating this film after I saw it. On the one hand, it's very technically sound and precise, with very few wasted scenes or shots. However, the clinical and sterile vibe left it feeling a bit soulless. There are strong performances by Damon and Fishburne, but too many subplots and story lines detracted from the pace and kept me from feeling deeply invested in any of the characters. Still, there are a few elements worth seeing in Contagion. The film is signature Soderbergh with its stylish score, edits, and montages. I also enjoyed the portrayal of events that occur given a potential pandemic after the foundations of society and industry are halted.

So my decision between rating it 4 to 6 out of 10 hinged on this question I asked myself: was watching the film worth my time? If I knew how I'd feel about it before I saw it, would I have gone ahead and watched it if I had the free time? It's a pretty close decision, but I think I would have passed on it if I knew how cold it turned out to be.

Iron Sky
Iron Sky(2012)

Kudos for a promising premise. But when you can't tell where the jokes are in a film that's supposed to be a comedy, then that's a pretty bad sign.

The Dark Knight Rises

Epic conclusion fitting for the series. A few scenes are prolonged in the second act, but it all contributes to the profound character development of Bruce Wayne, his supporting cast, Gotham (personified), and Bane. One of the most dramatic, finely developed, and well-ended films I've seen.

The Amazing Spider-Man

Standard action plot bolstered by a more emotionally involved story and clever script makes this reboot a series to keep an eye (or 8) on.

Miami Vice
Miami Vice(2006)

Lifeless, heartless effort by Mann on this formerly beloved series. Add in dour performances by Farrell and Foxx, and you get the beginning of the decline of a great string of character driven films that had defined Michael Mann as an exceptional director.

The Cabin in the Woods

Great original script with solid execution by the cast and the director. Horror is my favorite genre, but ironically I find it to be the one with the lowest number of quality films.

X-Men: First Class
½

McAvoy and Fassbender display some commanding performances in this film. The set design is visually appealing with a clean retro look. Unfortunately, some of the classic X-Men luster is lost in the storytelling. Parts of the middle just seemed like a teen action flick, with a whole "look what I can do" montage. Even though none of them have been rated R, the X-Men series is a mature-themed series (at least the movies are) and that tone should hold true in any of the films. Additionally, the end just didn't provide a strong sense of closure. I'm a big fan of Matthew Vaughn, but this film has been his weakest directorial effort to date.

The Expendables

What a waste of some big name icons. The chemistry between this crew never develops like it does with the Ocean's series. The script felt like it was pieced together from paper-mache. The plot is jumpy with no cohesion and the dialogue is simplistic at best. There are attempts at story and character development, but they failed worse than I failed my first calculus exam. The lone performance with at least a touch of soul comes from Mickey Rourke, but he only has a minor role in the film.

So with all this bad in the film, could it be saved by the action? Not at all. I'll credit the action choreographer with some unique fights and original combat, but like the plot, it's not strung together in a well-flowing sequence like, let's say the Star Trek or Transformers action sequences. I'll admit the film was fun at times, but not enough to overcome the feeling of awkwardness every time Stallone or Dolph mumbled through their lines that didn't even really fit the scene. I'll be sure to stay far away from the sequel.

Drag Me to Hell

Yes, I'm gonna say it. This is Sam Raimi's best work yet. The jokes don't come as often as they do in Army of Darkness, but he puts more into setting them up, so that when they do come, they're even more shockingly hilarious than the ones in AoD. This is definitely a more jolting horror than AoD & the Evil Deads. But Raimi invests more in character building in this film, leading us to both squirm and bust up even more at all the punishment that Alison takes. If you like roller coasters, this is the maliciously fun movie for you.

Starship Troopers

If you like this type of humor, then the movie's hilarious. I like this type of humor, ergo the hilarity. Basically, over-the-top action sequences with parodies of Nazi-esque propaganda, mixed with some campy acting. Probably a little different than the serious piece of sci-fi storytelling and future sociological admonitions that Heinlein had intended in his novel, but that's what movie adaptations and cover songs are for: a reinterpretation or re-envisioning of the original work.

Neil Patrick Harris and Michael Ironside's performances set the camp tone (with decent support from Dina Meyer), and Van Dien, Richards, and Busey providing serviceable framework characters.

Verhoeven seems to make either gold or lead. This one's gold.